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Guidelines to Your Fitness Budget: Balancing Your Goals

Guidelines to Your Fitness Budget: Balancing Your Goals

You’ve seen a budget before. You have probably come up with one to make sure you can pay your bills every month. But budgets aren’t always financial. The term “budgeting” is extremely relevant when it comes to your fitness goals and in ultimately determining your level of success. We’re going to talk about the standard “you get out what you put in”, and exactly what that means! But first, let’s start with some TOUGH LOVE!

“You get out what you put in.”

TOUGH LOVE

As coaches, we hear it all the time.. “I had a bad weekend. A bad meal turned into a bad day. I went out drinking. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t feel like working out this week, so I didn’t.” And there is plenty more where that came from. And do you know what our answer is? “That’s ok.” Because it is! We preach balance. Our clients know that we harp on it, but it’s true.

If you are prepping for a contest, or are another type of competitive athlete and you are getting ready for your event, there is less room for error in these instances. But for the typical person who is just looking for a healthier lifestyle, this is nothing more than a minor speed bump. BUT, there can’t be any confusion as to why the scale hasn’t moved or clothes aren’t fitting better. A bad day here or there won’t kill your efforts, but it can be enough to stall them. Even if it’s only one bad day per week and you’re cutting, it could be enough to take you out of that deficit or drastically decrease it. So instead of a little over a pound of weight loss, you could be looking at the same number or maybe down a quarter of a pound.

On the other end of it, let’s say you’re bulking- you drank a little too much on Friday night and you used the weekend to sleep it off. Well it’s a little harder to get to your total daily caloric intake with half the number of meals that you usually eat. So that’s two days at significantly lower numbers, which is probably enough to inhibit an increase in weight.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, but you’ll have to curb your expectations as far as progress is concerned. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you do something once in a while, you can expect results once in a while.” I love it. Most people don’t understand the amount of dedication it takes to achieve something that they aren’t used to doing. Furthermore, the more you progress and get closer to an elite level, the more dedication it is going to take to continue to progress.

You can’t bust your ass in the gym and then have a free for all in the kitchen and you can’t spend your life meal prepping then half-ass it in the gym and expect to get great results. It doesn’t work like that. Results are HARD to get. They may come easier to some people, but those people may just be programmed already on how to get this stuff done- making it less effort for them specifically.

Setting Your Budget

Again, we’re not talking about money here. This article isn’t about setting money aside for groceries and your gym membership. We’re talking about time and effort. How much time can you budget to your goals. How many things are you willing to give up in order to achieve them. The higher the number, the better the results. You don’t have to want to be elite. You just have to decide how much you want out of this. And that’s exactly what we’re going to breakdown here.

“Do I really need to bring a scale with me everywhere I go?”

Honestly? Yeah, you do. At least until you’ve memorized what an accurate serving size looks like for all the things you eat regularly. And even after that, if you are really hard-core about this stuff, you will have to continue to weigh your meals out because there’s no way you know what 130g of oats looks like vs 115g. Eyeball it after you learn what it looks like: Good Results. You weight it out at every meal: Great Results.

“I don’t have a set program in the gym, but I know what my body likes.”

Cool, do you remember what you did for every set of every exercise the last week? How about the last month? I can probably stop asking there but I’ll move forward anyway.. How about the last 3-6 months? Do you know exactly how much you’ve progressed in every single lift over this time frame? If you aren’t progressing, you aren’t growing and you’re likely not achieving the adaptations that you’re looking for. If you are, you’re probably not being as efficient as you could be for the amount of time that you’re in the gym.. Or you’ve just started working out and you get to enjoy the amazing responses that your body is going to give you for the first few months! But for most of us, we have to make sure we get everything we work for, so tracking your workouts is a huge tool.

If you go through the motions in the gym (busting your ass, but still untracked), you will get good results. If you track your workouts and plan them out, ensuring your volume has increased and you have progressed, you will get great results.

“I didn’t drink that much, but we got back at like 3 o’clock this morning. I’m pretty beat but I’ll still meet you at the gym at 7.”

I’ll be honest, this was my downfall for a while (college). But I probably wasn’t saying I didn’t drink that much… For whatever reason, I still felt good when I hopped out of bed after a few hours of sleep. Fitness was my religion and I wasn’t going to miss a meal or a workout. Especially not with spring break on the horizon.

But I overlooked how critical sleep was to everything else I was so dedicated to. You don’t grow while you’re lifting. You grow while you’re resting and recovering. Where does most of that take place? Sleep… And the deeper sleep the better. Can you progress off of a limited sleep schedule? Yup.. Results: Good. But get into that sweet spot of 7-9 hours of sleep.. Results: Great.

“I had a family barbecue this weekend.”

This one is easily the most common. Family/friend cookouts/get togethers. It happens all the time. You don’t have to be a party animal for this to be a common occurrence in your life. And this is really what we’re talking about with balancing your lifestyle with fun and fitness. If you aren’t competing and you just love being in shape, isn’t it ok to enjoy the quality time? That’s up for each individual person to debate. But we say yes. Absolutely enjoy it. Life is too short. BUT, if you have a show or competition coming up in two weeks and you’re already cutting it close.. Pack your own damn meals! Haha you can still enjoy the company of others while eating your prep food. Too many people shut themselves out from the world when it comes to crunch time. That’s not very enjoyable. You just need a little self-discipline and to remind yourself of why you started. You are doing something that’s very important to you. That should outweigh the big ass brownie you’re staring at.

Even if you aren’t competing, if you’ve just gotten into a rhythm in your weight loss after a long rut, stick to it! Make some tasty meals to bring with you to keep your progress rolling. We’ve done it.. Your family and friends might throw some playful jabs at you, but you’ll survive, and you’ll have abs to show them at the next one.

Mindful/intuitive eating: Good results. Meal prep: Great results.

Conclusion

So, do you have to be on top of your game all the time? That just depends on where you’re going with this. There are two extremes to every spectrum. The majority of people will find themselves somewhere in between. If you want to be elite, you do need to be at the high-end of the spectrum, on your game all the time. If you are perfectly happy being good, then make good choices most of the time. That’s your balance. That’s your budget. At the end of the day, if you are happy then you already won.

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

Filtering Through the Miracle Diets: Which Works Best?

Filtering Through the Miracle Diets: Which Works Best?

The Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, Keto, Paleo… You can probably Google 25 more that will express how THIS diet will change your life. Which diet truly creates the best transformations? Let’s go through a few of the most popular and identify the winner.

The Keto Diet

The low-carb diet. The principle behind the Ketone Diet is getting your body into a state of Ketosis. This is where your body transfers from using carbohydrates as fuel to becoming extremely efficient in using fat for fuel. So how do you get there? The general rule of thumb is keeping your carbohydrates between 30-50 grams.

Basically, when planning your diet, you consume a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and the remainder of your calories are going to come from fat. You don’t plan out your carbohydrates (you’re trying to eat as few as possible) but you the little bit you take in is coming from your protein or fat source that may have a few grams of carbs in them.

The Paleo Diet

This is sometimes called the new, old diet. It’s a bit of a caveman reference. The idea is that you only consume foods that you could hunt or gather.. These foods include fruits, veggies, meat, seeds, and nuts. The bigger list is of things it doesn’t include. You can’t eat any refined sugars, or anything that has been processed. If we couldn’t eat it 500 years ago, you can’t eat it today. That’s the concept.

The Atkins Diet

This one took the country by storm. I feel like half the books in the nutrition section of Barnes and Noble are all about the Atkins Diet. Created by Dr. Robert Atkins, a cardiologist, it is extremely similar to the Keto Diet in that the number of carbohydrates you consume are drastically reduced. The biggest difference is that the Atkins Diet calculates “net carbs”, or total carbs minus fiber. His idea on that is the foods high in fiber have less of an impact on blood glucose and can be considered “good carbs”.

Do Any of These Offer A Real Advantage?

The short answer? No. Weight loss and weight gain is extremely simple.. Calories in vs Calories out. The math is extremely straight forward. If you consume fewer calories than you expend, then you will lose weight. If your diet is 5 bags of M&Ms and a Snickers Bar per day, but you’re a competitive distance runner, you’re likely to lose weight. You’re also likely to be extremely malnourished and unhealthy, but you’ll lose weight.

“But (insert diet here) worked for me. I lost 40 pounds on it.”

The only advantage a diet offers is if it is easier for you to follow. Can you live on 30g of carbs per day for the rest of your life? Can you avoid bagels or cereal forever? I can’t speak for you. Maybe you can. But I can’t. And I don’t think most of the rest of us can either. But if you can, then yes, one of these diets does carry and advantage… For YOU.

Understanding Your Lifestyle

The only way you can be successful in a transformation is understanding your own lifestyle. Consistency is key to success. If you can’t maintain something, that success will not last. And if it isn’t maintainable, why are you doing it? How fulfilling is it to hold a trophy for a month and then have it taken back? You need to choose a healthy lifestyle that you can sustain. For most people, that just means eating a healthy balance.

I love the 80/20 rule. It’s a pretty good starting point. If you make healthy choices 80% of the time, the 20% of fun foods isn’t going to crush your goals. It’s actually going to help you maintain them because your aren’t restricting yourself. And when you don’t restrict yourself, you tend to have fewer cravings. The bottom line is that if you are eating foods with all the nutrients you need to stay healthy, you can have that bowl of ice cream if it stays within your caloric allowance. If your goal is weight loss and you have 2000 calories for the day and you’ve eaten all your fruits and veggies already but still have 400 calories left over, a few Oreos won’t keep you from losing weight. You’re still in a deficit so you’re still losing weight.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there is no miracle diet. The only miracle is finding something that you enjoy and are able to sustain. There is no magical food, no magical process, and no overnight transformation. Caloric balance is the determining factor in whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. If you can plan out your goals and be consistent, you will have success. We can help with that 🙂

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

The Reason Why You Aren’t Getting Stronger or Progressing Towards Your Goals

The Reason Why You Aren’t Getting Stronger or Progressing Towards Your Goals

We’ve all been there. There was a time in our training where the progress just seemed to stop. It became the un-bustable plateau. Maybe it’s getting stuck at a 225 pound bench press for 10 reps. Maybe it’s getting stuck at 150 pounds. Somewhere along the line that “beginner magic”, where the results came almost easy, just wore off. Now it’s been two years and you’ve gone to the gym consistently busting your ass but you haven’t made any noticeable progress from where you were. Why? How can all this work count for nothing? We’ll, I’m going to tell you.

 

Let’s keep it really simple.. I’ll start with a question. How do we progress? We make small progressions over time, right? We can’t expect to PR every workout over the lifetime of our fitness careers, but we can put a plan in place that lets us PR every time we plan to test our maxes. But what do we consider small progressions over time? If you’ve been stuck at 225 pounds for 10 reps on the bench press and you’re waiting to feel like you’ve progressed enough to add more weight, when is it time to do so? Well the problem that most of us have is that we spend more time waiting than necessary. Maybe it’s waiting for a day we have a workout partner who pumps us up and we add an extra 10 or 15 pounds. But how often does that happen?

 

The truth is that we all progress differently. But in order to adapt, we need to progress. So our plan of action needs to ensure that it does happen. Some people (especially if you’re new to working out) seem to progress every single week. They might add 5 pounds per week to their 8 rep max. Every single week they can do the same workouts and they just keep throwing weight on the bar. That’s progression.

 

But what if you can’t do that? We don’t want to go to failure every single set, and we certainly don’t want to sacrifice form to get more reps up because we had to add weight. So how do you progress from there? Maybe you couldn’t add 5 or 10 pounds this week, but could you do an extra set? Could you bump up your 3 sets of flat bench to 4 sets? Again, this depends. If you’ve been recovering well recently, you can probably add a set. That’s progression.

 

If you feel like you’ve been beaten to a pulp and there’s no way you can add a single set to your workout, you’ve got a couple things to consider. 1- When was the last time you de-loaded? Your cumulative fatigue may be at a point where you are best suited to take a de-load week to reduce it. And 2- Is your workout routine designed optimally?

 

There is a magical line that we should all recognize in the pursuit of our goals. It’s the line that tells us we’re working too hard or not hard enough. We want to work right up that that line to optimize our results as efficiently as possible. Going over that line is called overreaching, which is ok as long as it’s planned and usually followed up with a de-load. Staying well under that line means we are just spinning our tires and not doing enough work to progress and force adaptations within our body. Does this line have a name? Yep.. It’s your Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV). And unfortunately, this line is not universal. It depends on a long list of factors (like training experience) and is different for everybody. But it’s name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the most amount of work that we can do that allows us to recover and not interfere with our next workout.

 

It’s not that hard to figure out your own MRV. It just takes some time to test it. Let’s say you use 100 pound dumbbells for 3 sets of 10 on flat bench. Next week do 4 sets. Then try 5 the following week. If during that week, your reps looked like this: 10, 10, 10, 10, 7- your MRV for that exercise at that weight was the 4th set. You failed on the 5th, so that was a little bit past your MRV.

 

Do we want to train to our MRV every workout? We suggest working up to your MRV over the course of three weeks, then overreaching on your fourth week, and then you would follow that up with a de-load on your fifth week. (FYI: when I say de-load, that doesn’t mean a week off. It’s a week at a calculated lesser volume). Then you could start the cycle over.

 

So that should help us in deciding how to maximize the efficiency of our workouts, but how do we parlay that back into progressions? Well, that will help us calculate what the overview of our program should look like. But in the day to day of each of our individual workouts, ON AVERAGE, each workout should have increased volume from the last. That doesn’t mean every single workout, but on average that should be the rule… Increased volume=progression.

 

This part can get pretty technical when it comes to designing your program. But for those of you who aren’t sure exactly what volume is: weight x sets x reps = volume. If you bench 100 pounds for 4 sets of 10, your volume is 4000 lbs. So whether you add 5 pounds next week, or increase that same load for an additional set, your volume is increased. The extra set increases volume a lot more than the 5 pound increase at the same number of sets. So both should be incorporated at different times in the program to ensure you are progressing, but not overreaching too often.

 

Everyone has heard the phrase, “Train insane or remain the same,” right? There’s a little more to it than that, but it’s true. If you train the same, you remain the same. You need an overload to progress. You need to progress to force adaptations. We need adaptations to go to the beach every summer or to leave a competition with something shiny. You have to train harder AND smarter.. We can help with that! Join the Evolution and find the success that so many of our members have already!

 

http://www.sd-evolution.com/services.html

5 “rules” for beginners in the gym

5 “rules” for beginners in the gym

rules for beginnners

 

I have posted plenty of blogs on why resistance training is beneficial to our health, and I have also posted many blogs on why (if you’re a female) you shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavy weights (SEE HERE). Now that you may be convinced incorporating weight training into your life is a good idea, there’s one problem: you’re clueless when it comes down to how to begin.

I think that a lot of people could LOVE resistance training if they had the confidence to give it a shot which is why I chose to blog about this topic today. So here we go!

LIFTING RULE #1

Find a gym in your area that you can easily attend. The closer the gym is to your house or work, the more likely you are going to go. Easily incorporating this into your daily routine is what is going to keep you motivated.

LIFTING RULE #2

Create a plan. If you’re a total newbie to lifting, chances are you aren’t going to be very familiar with the machines. I usually have my beginner clients stick to dumbbell/barbell exercises that can easily be referenced on YouTube. If you are more familiar with your gym’s equipment, make sure to still set a weekly lifting schedule. Does this totally uninterest you? Luckily we do offer Online Training Plans HERE  which are 100% personalized to your goals, body & availability. Having a set schedule not only holds you accountable to your workouts, but (for me at least) gets me pumped up all day knowing what I have to do in the gym later.

LIFTING RULE #3

Start simple. There are SO many exercises out there which can be confusing and overwhelming. It is important to know that you don’t have to do EVERYTHING you see and at the same time it is also important to switch things up once in a while. I have witnessed people doing the same workouts years later and guess what….they look exactly the same. Our client plans change every 4 weeks which keeps the body guessing but also allows you to improve on those set movements for a duration of time.

LIFTING RULE #4

Find a training style that works for you. So many people go into the gym and perform a boring, basic bodybuilding style workout day in and day out not realizing there are multiple ways to reach their goals. I used to be one of those people. I thought 3 sets of 12 reps was the only way. Did it give me results? At first, yes however then I reached a halt in my progress. My body adapted and honestly, I was pretty bored with those workouts. I found powerlifting at the end of last year and I thoroughly look forward to going to the gym every day because I am so excited to do my set workout. I’m not saying you have to become a powerlifter, but do some research and see what else is out there besides your average bodybuilding split. For example, I like to start a lot of our beginner clients (depending on their goals) with a simple Upper/Lower Body split. This means 2 Upper Body days per week and 2 Lower Body days with 1 or 2 full body days. This keeps it simple at first, and down the road we change things up.

LIFTING RULE #5

Choose a starting weight that you can perform about 80% of the amount of reps with, leaving the last few reps as more of a challenge. A lot of clients ask me how much weight they should start off with and honestly, the answer is different for every single person. I cannot simply tell you where to begin. This is your job during your first week of training to “feel” out the weights. You don’t want to be too easy on yourself but at the same time leave your ego at home until your form is on point.

 

With these tips I hope we have inspired you to create a plan, step out of your comfort zone and go try a strength training workout that challenges and excites you! As always, E-mail us with questions or more information about the Online Coaching plans that we currently offer.

 

~Alessandra

 

 

 

A guilt-free late night snack, my 2015 goals and some reverse dieting knowledge

A guilt-free late night snack, my 2015 goals and some reverse dieting knowledge

I always look for new things when grocery shopping and usually I am successful! Although I miss my Stop & Shop at home in CT, I have finally gotten used to the Ralph’s, Von’s & Stater Bros. stores in SoCal. I discovered this item a couple of weeks ago and it has since become a nightly ritual for me.

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They are Carbmaster Yogurts by Kroger and these 60 calorie treats have replaced and tamed my ice cream cravings! Now although I wouldn’t consider these treats “clean” the macros are definitely a plus with 9g Protein, <3g carbs and 1.5g fat. There is only 3g of sugar in each of these flavor packed cups and although I haven’t tried all of the flavors yet, I have yet to find one that I don’t like. These are perfect for bodybuilders, my fellow bikini girls as well as anyone trying to keep the pounds off yet struggles with snacking.

 

 2015 Goals

I have officially decided to compete again in 2015 and I couldn’t be more excited. From now until January I will focus on continuing to build as much muscle as possible while increasing my macros weekly in small increments while maintaining my current bodyweight. This process also known as reverse dieting is essential as once I begin my official prep in January, I will cut back down on calories.

To start this process, I am in the middle of a 10 day Ketogenic recharge. Some of you may be wondering what that means so let me try to break it down as simply as possible:

What is a Ketogenic diet?

Basically a low-carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. The goal is to keep your carbs under 50g or at an amount that keeps you in Ketosis. Since you are depleting your carbs, once your body runs out of its glucose stores it will then turn to fat as its main source of energy. This type of diet is often prescribed to Epilepsy patients or diabetics. Since carbs spike insulin levels, using fat as fuel is optimal for these individuals.

I am only doing this diet for 10 days to completely empty my stores for when I begin to cycle my carbs.

Now some of you may also be asking

What is Carb Cycling?

Carb cycling is a plan that alternates between high and low carb days. To keep it simple, you are tricking your body. There are many different ways you can cycle carbs however I have decided to follow this plan:

Carb Cycling Plan

 

I find that my body personally performs best on lower carb/higher fat intakes therefore I have incorporated two low carb days followed by a high carb day. If you are just starting out, I would suggest just alternating between one low carb day and one high carb day. At first you may experience lower energy on your low carb day but once your body adapts, and once you start seeing results I guarantee it will become easier!  I am beyond excited to see the results with my own body and can’t wait to hear about your results if you decide to carb cycle as well!

With the holidays coming up it can be easy to slack off on your healthy eating. Using this method allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds while continuing to drop body fat!

 

 

Need help setting your macros? Do you feel like you need someone to guide you through your weightloss journey?

Contact me via FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com !

Why not today?

Why not today?

Earlier this week Josh and I decided to take control. With a slower week at work for both of us, it was time to get re-inspired to be the power couple that we know we can be. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle of day to day activities and forget the important things. To stay motivated we decided to take the evening and write down our monthly, 3 month, 6 month and yearly goals in the aspects of work, personal, and our relationship. We both have so many ideas and dreams we want to accomplish and by writing these down we were able to not only become excited again, but make these goals a reality.

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Ask yourself: Why not today? What is stopping you from declaring your goals and ultimately beginning to dig for those goals today? I guarantee you you’re going to come up with excuses like time, money or even the fear of failure. You mean to tell me you can’t find 30 minutes each day to work on you? That’s really all you need. Is money the issue? Break it down. Start small. with our current launch of Bad Ass Bootcamps obviously we want to buy top of the line equipment to provide our clients with the best, but it’s called a start-up business for a reason! $10 on some training cones, $50 on a banner and that’s all we need…for now. And failure? Our quote of the day on our white board is currently this:

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So with the excuses out of the way, let me ask you again: Why not today?

It’s now been 3 weeks that I have been super on point with my macronutrients and it really is making me feel amazing. Of course, every week (usually on Saturdays) we go out for a cheat meal/cheat treat/refeed. Last week I picked ice cream and this week Josh picked burgers! So off we went to one of San Diego’s highest rated burger joints: Slater’s 50/50 and designed our own burgers! You even get to name it so when they bring you your food the waiter pronounces each one. I obviously named mine the Fit Girl Gainz and Josh called his the Cheat Meal Supreme. After sticking to our weekly clean foods it was rewarding and extra delicious to indulge!

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Although I preach clean eating and living the healthy lifestyle, I highly support indulging every once in a while. Not only is it good for your mind, but it’s actually good for your body. When you are eating a strict diet of clean foods to lose body fat, your leptin levels actually decrease which eventually prohibits fat burn after a while. Ever diet and see great results then hit a plateau even thought you’re still dieting? This would be due to our little friend leptin. Now when eating a weekly cheat meal that’s increasing your caloric intake more than usual, you cause this leptin levels to spike up again which actually allows your body to keep burning fat. So yes, go enjoy that burger, ice cream or whatever your guilty pleasure may be!

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Now to enjoy a relaxing football Sunday, hit the gym and prepare food (and thoughts) for the week! Happy Sunday Fit Girl Mob 🙂